The Ojai Retreat – California

Reviewed & Recommended

EcoExcellence AwardTOP 10 winner

Stirring panoramic views and comfortable accommodations in a serene, secluded setting make this property a favorite of many in the Ojai Valley area of southern California.  Winner of the 2011 Ojai Valley News Best of Ojai in the Lodging category, the property management also has a passionate commitment to sustainable practices.  

 Read more in “The Ojai Retreat” EcoLogic LifeStyle feature article.

For more information on accommodations visit  The Ojai Retreat.


On Site Sustainability Review for The Ojai Retreat


Property/Business Name: The Ojai Retreat

Telephone Number:   US 1.805.646.2536

City: Ojai

State (US): California

Country: United States

NOTE:  Some of the criteria below where met in the newly remodeled rooms at The Ojai Retreat.  The facility will soon be entirely upgraded in all rooms to reflect these criteria.  Consider requesting those rooms that have been remodeled for your stay.


Site Design:

  • Comply with local zoning requirements
  • Respect the natural or cultural heritage surroundings in site location, design, impact assessment, and landrights and acquisition
  • Recycle job site construction waste (including green waste and existing structures)
  • Site and foundation drainage – sloped grade, protected drain tile/French drains, foundation floor drains
  • Redevelopment existing building(s)
  • Reduce Heat Island Effect on site/ minimize areas of pavement & walls of heat absorbing surfaces
  • Private or semi-public outdoor gathering place with natural elements
  • Access for persons with special needs
  • Walking & bicycling paths
  • Secure bicycle racks and/or storage
  • Preferred parking for hybrid & electric vehicles


Exterior & Structural Design:

  • Materials and technologies following locally appropriate principles of sustainable construction
  • Shading on all south-facing – deep overhangs
  • Natural fiber or recycled cellulose insulations – recycled cotton denim
  • Engineered and stranded lumbers instead of solid lumbers – micro lams
  • Foundation Drainage System
  • Foundation wall damp-proofed or water-proofed


  • Daylighting with windows, skylights & solar tubes to replace lighting fixtures
  • No air conditioning or high efficiency air conditioning with environmentally preferable refrigerants – mini split heat pumps for heating & cooling
  • High efficiency lighting – solar LED walkway and driveway lighting
  • Motion sensor controlled lighting
  • High efficiency appliances – refrigerators
  • Energy Star preferred
  • Monitoring of energy consumption and energy savings campaign


  • Insulate hot water pipes
  • Certified wastewater treatment systems – new leechfield w/ seepage pits
  • High efficiency toilets – Dual Flush or ≤ 1.28 Gallons Per Flush (gpf) (1.6 gpl is old code in most areas) – 80% of rooms
  • Efficient water filters where necessary to provide safe & bathing drinking water – kitchen

Indoor Air Quality:

  • Structural materials, caulks and construction adhesives with no or low VOCs free of urea formaldehyde and other toxins
  • Low VOC paints, finishes and sealers
  • Hard surface flooring instead of wall to wall carpeting,
  • Operable windows for cross ventilation
  • Moisture resistant material in wet areas: Kitchens, Bathrooms, Laundry, Utility Rooms and Basements
  • Permanent walk-off mats


  • Protect topsoil and minimize disruption of existing plants & trees
  • Storm water control to prevent erosion
  • Native species /No invasive species – 50% drought tolerant not requiring irrigation and shifting to include more
  • No plant species that require shearing,
  • Group plants by water needs (Hydrozoning)
  • Only non-toxic organic soil amendments
  • Mulch all planting beds to the greater of 3 Inches or more
  • Follow Local Water Ordinance requirement
  • Resource efficient landscapes using materials present on site
  • Minimal turf in landscape – only approximately 10%


  • Containing no VOCs or toxic substances
  • Natural, rapidly renewable content material – use mostly rattan for seating


  • Repair and seal all necessary areas for moisture prevention to inhibit mold growth
  • Filter changes, coil cleaning, thermostat calibration, and damper adjustments – 4 times per year
  • Low VOC paints, stains, sealers & caulks
  • Nontoxic, natural cleaners, soaps, sanitizers, pest management – flax seed oil soap, organic personal care products from Terra Pure in recyclable containers
  • No air fresheners or deodorizers
  • Bath linen reuse program with client reuse education – signage posted
  • Recycling program
  • Composting program
  • HEPA filters on vacuum cleaners
  • Two sided printing on recycled content, bleach free paper – and reuse scrap for notes
  • Some bulk purchasing & in reusable or recyclable containers – food only
  • Local purchases – within 30 miles – produce only
  • Fruit trees (pesticide/herbicide free) on property used for breakfast
  • Purchase organic – coffee & produce when available
  • Fair Trade purchases
  • Food grown / raised on site or locally using organic / sustainable techniques
  • Reusable or biodegradable, non-petroleum based cups, plates and cutlery
  • Sustainability training program for employees – also hired with extensive knowledge for cross training of staff


  • Equitable hiring practices for women and minorities, in all positions, and no child labor
  • Hiring and training opportunities provided to local citizens first
  • Contributes to the protection of local historical, archeological, culturally, and spiritually important properties, and does not impede access to
  • Local art and cultural heritage incorporated in operations, design, decoration and food – art exhibits of local artists, ongoing events including local musicians and spiritual events reflective of Ojai culture
  • Sustainability education for guests & suggestion cards
  • Participate in local or regional environmental protection programs – hold environmental educational workshops for guests community

The Ojai Retreat also has plans to incorporate…

solar for power, permeable paving, greywater and biodynamic permaculture community demonstration garden with a solar pump for irrigation

Our recommendations for The Ojai Retreat

Another successful sustainable shift!!…   While management was striving to be sustainable by using paints, sealers and cleaning products already on hand, most of these are no longer in compliance with strict California regulations.  Upon our recommendation they are safely (according to state regulations) disposing of these older, more toxic products, and finding zero VOC bio-based alternatives.


THE FINE PRINT – – – The EcoExcellence Award is a voluntary program. It is the responsibility of the applying organization to ensure that all program requirements are met. Our staff will monitor program compliance through an initial site visit (which is repeated every 3 years), and submitted customer comments. A condition of the EcoExcellence Award program is that an applying organization agrees to allow site visits from our staff, board of directors or other contracted reviewer. If deficiencies are reported, we will offer referrals to follow-up assistance through professional consultants to correct them. Consistent failure to make any changes will result in the removal of the business from the program. All EcoExcellence Award promotional materials must be returned and the business will refrain from linking any information to the EcoExcellence Award and Ecologic LifeStyle Travel Guide website. By accessing this free Reviewed & Recommended directory listing, user agrees to indemnify and hold harmless EcoLogic LifeStyle, our staff, contractors or affiliates from any claims, by any persons or organizations, arising out of the Reviewed & Recommended directory listings or any Feature Articles. 


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